Rockies Are The Huge Underdog MLB Pick vs. Greinke & Diamondbacks

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 4, 2016 7:05 PM GMT

Zack Greinke was one of the biggest signings of the off-season by the Diamondbacks, but he may be worth fading at a big MLB odds price with the underrated Jorge de la Rosa and the Rockies.

 

One of the most sought after free agent pitchers in baseball this season could be overpriced in his first start for his new team Monday night when southpaw Jorge de la Rosa and the Colorado Rockies (0-0, 0-0 away) pay a visit to the highly coveted right-hander Zack Greinke and his new team the Arizona Diamondbacks (0-0, 0-0 home) at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ at 9:40 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Arizona. The posted money line at Heritage Sports has Colorado as a very big underdog for this contest at current MLB odds boards of +181.

 

Improved Arizona Pitching Staff
The Diamondbacks finished third in the National League West last season at 79-83 but they are look for much more this year after seemingly improving their starting rotation a great deal, first by catching many teams by surprise in signing today’s starter Greinke, which was one of the two biggest free agent signings this year along with Boston signing David Price, and then by acquiring Shelby Miller from the Braves to be the second starter.

The Rockies meanwhile were the worst MLB picks in the NL West last year at 68-94, but they did go out and improve their bullpen quite a bit with the additions of Jake McGee, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls, provided of course those pitchers are not intimidated by pitching in altitude. Now, we are not saying that means Colorado will improve much this season, but at least it should do a better job of holding on to late leads, which is never a bad thing.

 

From Pitcher’s Park to Hitter’s Park
There is no doubt that Greinke was one of the best pitchers in the game last season, as he finished second in the Cy Young Award voting in the National League and was arguably the best pitcher in the league the first four months before the sensational run by winner Jake Arrieta to end the year. Still, not to take away from Greinke’s great year, he now goes from pitching in a pitcher’s park in Dodger Stadium to one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the league.

Granted, Greinke is 6-2 lifetime with a 3.34 ERA as a visiting player here at Chase Field, but he has also been more hittable than at most other ballparks with an ordinary 1.31 WHIP and .263 batting average allowed, so there could be a transition period while getting used to pitching half of his games here.

Also, Greinke had perhaps his worst start of the entire year last season the last time he faced Colorado, as the Rockies reached him for five earned runs on 10 hits in just six innings of a game the Dodgers still won 9-8. Yes that was in Colorado, but Arizona has the second highest elevation of any park in baseball.

 

Most Successful Colorado Pitcher Ever
It is also interesting that this betting line opened at Colorado +201 at Pinnacle and at +200 at Heritage, and yet the Rockies have been bet down to their current +176 and +181 at those two shops respectively despite the presence of Greinke as the mound opponent. Part of that may have to do with Colorado having probably the most successful pitcher in team history on the mound in de la Rosa.

Sure the Rockies have had some great individual pitching seasons, with Ubaldo Jimenez and David Cone coming to mind, but nobody has matched the prolonged success of de la Rosa while pitching in high altitude, as the veteran southpaw that turns 35-years-old tomorrow is 78-52 lifetime in a Rockies’ uniform with a 4.09 ERA that is quite respectable pitching half his games one mile above sea level.

Furthermore de la Rosa has posted three consecutive winning seasons despite the Rockies battling for the division basement every year, including going 9-7 with a 4.19 ERA pitching for a last place team last season. He also faced the Diamondbacks twice in 2015 and held what was one of the better offenses in the National League to two runs and one run respectively.

 

Diamondbacks Missing Big Piece
Finally, do not forget that the Arizona offense suffered a key loss when A.J. Pollock suffered a fractured elbow during an exhibition game Friday, knocking him out for at least several months. Pollock had the second highest projected WAR on the Arizona offense this season at 4.3 according to the ZiPS projections, second only to Paul Goldschmidt at 4.8, and no other Arizona batter is predicted for better than a 2.5 WAR.

With that injury possibly crippling the Diamondbacks’ division title hopes and with Greinke transitioning to a hitter’s park, we recommend going for the value play here and backing Colorado at big odds visiting Arizona on opening day Monday.

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Free MLB Pick: Rockies +198
Best Line Offered: at Heritage